Ocean County Freeholder Director announces cost of snow cleanup
When you look outside the leftovers from that early January blizzard are still on the ground, but the cost of cleanup for the 630-miles that make up Ocean County roads and government facilities from that storm may surprise you.
While most of Ocean County saw around 10-12 inches of snow, other parts like the Bayville section of Berkeley Township totaled nearly 16-inches.
Freeholder Director Gerry Little says plowing the 16-hundred miles worth of road lanes is like plowing a road from here to Pittsburgh and back 4-times.
The estimated cleanup cost from the January 4 storm, "is almost three-quarters of a million dollars, $725,000.00," Little said, "that includes the salt, the plowing, the overtime and the associated costs of repairs to vehicles."
Little said $675,000.00 was in the Road Department as well as over $337,000.00 needed for materials, $191,000.00 for overtime and $35,000.00 for subcontractors.
They had over 200 plow vehicles clearing roads and areas around 135-county government buildings and parking lot.
“It is essential that our parking lots and sidewalks are cleared so our employees can get to work and the public can access our services and programs," Freeholder Joe Vicari said.
There was also a lot of salt and brine put on the roads before, during and after the snow fell and the frigid temps created icy roads throughout that weekend.
"We used about 300,700 tons of road salt and almost 4,200 gallons of brine that we used to coat the roads in advance," Little said.
The cleanup crews from the January 4 storm included the Ocean County Department of Vehicle Services, the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management, the Ocean County Parks and Recreation Department, the Bridge Department and the Buildings and Grounds Department and the Department of Vehicle Services.
“That (DVS) department provided almost 15,000 gallons of fuel to keep County vehicles on the roads during the cleanup,” Little, who also is liaison to Vehicle Services, said. “They had 53 employees working throughout the storm. It is essential our vehicles, especially trucks that hold the plows, are properly maintained in order to clear our roads.”
Close to $7,000.00 was used for assistance by the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management, about $12,000 for the Bridge Department and nearly $3,000 in overtime for the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation.
The buildings and grounds staff had 37 employees cleaning up after the storm who worked nearly 600 hours combined.
The public safety dispatchers under Sheriff Mike Mastronardy answered over 500 emergency 911 calls during the storm.
“I along with my colleagues on the Board send my appreciation to the county staff – from our road department workers to our Office of Emergency Management and our switchboard operators....they all worked diligently to get Ocean County moving again,” Little said.
It's only January which means a chance for snow through March, and then again in December this year.
Little says even as they put together their budget for 2018, taxpayers don't have to be worried about being snowed in.
"Our county budget will be stable, we will have the necessary financial and...workforce power necessary to keep our roads and our bridges clean and clear for the duration of the winter season," Little said.
If we have a stormy rest of the winter, Little says local and county governments can transfer funds by November of each year, so funds are on ice so to speak.
"Even if there is an issue with funding in any particular department, not just roads...if you have emergency situations, you're allowed to transfer funds from one department to another to make up the difference," Little said.
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